EPA Region 7 Announces Environmental Justice Grant Funding for Eight Community-Driven Projects in Missouri and Nebraska
LENEXA, KAN. (DEC. 16, 2021) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $14.1 million in environmental justice (EJ) grant funding for 133 grants selected through the Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) and Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement (EJCPS) programs.
A total of eight organizations in Missouri and Nebraska were selected to receive grant funding through these programs.
Ninety-nine EJ Small Grant recipients were selected to receive up to $75,000 each, and 34 EJCPS grant recipients were selected to receive up to $200,000 each, following successful completion of the award process. The majority of these EJ grants are receiving funds appropriated through the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
Funded projects cover a wide array of environmental justice issues including: the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; air monitoring; indoor/outdoor air quality; food access; community planning; EJ tool development; water treatment training; community agriculture; green jobs and infrastructure; emergency preparedness and planning; toxic exposures; water quality; land reuse; and support of healthy homes.
“President Biden has made it clear that delivering environmental justice is a top priority for this administration, especially in communities most gravely impacted by the pandemic and health outcome disparities from pollution,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "Thanks to the president and Congress, today’s environmental justice grants funded in large part by the American Rescue Plan will provide critical support to our most overburdened and vulnerable communities.”
“We are pleased that eight Region 7 organizations were chosen to receive funding that will empower our underserved communities to address their environmental and public health concerns,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meghan A. McCollister. “These community-driven projects seek to improve air quality, build climate resilience, promote and foster food security, and educate neighbors on issues ranging from energy efficiency to pandemic recovery.”
Six Region 7 EJSG projects were selected for a grant of $75,000 each. For full project descriptions, see EPA’s website (click on Region 7 link on Page 1). Projects include:
- City Sprouts (Omaha, Nebraska): City Sprouts Victory Gardens Health Initiative
- Metropolitan Energy Center (Kansas City, Missouri): Kansas City Urban Heat Community Workshops
- Missouri Energy Care (St. Louis): Inclusive Sustainability for St. Louis
- PedNet Coalition (Columbia, Missouri): Air Quality & Transportation Equity: Building community capacity to improve local environments and public health
- Spark (Omaha, Nebraska): North Omaha Trail
- Springfield Community Gardens (Springfield, Missouri): Springfield Community Gardens Environmental Justice Small Grants Project
Two Region 7 EJCPS projects were selected for a grant of $200,000 each. For full project descriptions, see EPA’s website (Page 16). Projects include:
- BikeWalkKC (Kansas City, Missouri): Getting Around KC: An evaluation of KC’s Zero-Fare Bus Transit
- Mid-America Regional Council Community Services Corporation (Kansas City, Missouri): Resilient People, Resilient Places – Creating a Community-based Model for Climate Resilience in Metro Kansas City
EJ Small Grants Selections
The 2021 EJ Small Grants selections will benefit communities in 37 states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico. These 99 projects, many funded through the ARP, cover a wide array of environmental justice issues.
Also, in support of President Biden’s Executive Orders 13985 and 14008, EPA has for the first time created a designation exclusively for small nonprofit organizations, defined as having 10 or fewer full-time employees. This effort reflects the president’s Justice40 initiative defined in EO 14008, and ensures that grant resources reach organizations of lower capacity that historically struggle to receive federal funding. Eighty-three of the organizations receiving an EJ Small Grant this year are small nonprofit organizations.
In addition, 7 EJ Small Grants will support EPA’s Ports Initiative by addressing air quality issues at coastal ports, inland ports, and rail yards. These projects help prepare community stakeholders to effectively engage with operators and other stakeholders of nearby port or rail facilities to influence decision-making that may impact diesel engine emissions and related air quality.
To see the full listing of all 99 organizations receiving an EJSG and to learn more about EJSG, visit EPA’s website.
EJ Collaborative Problem-Solving Selections
The 2021 EJ Collaborative Problem-Solving selections will benefit communities in 24 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These 34 projects address a breadth of environmental justice issues.
To see the full listing of all the selected 34 EJCPS projects and to learn more about EJCPS, visit EPA’s website.
Background on the American Rescue Plan Appropriation to EPA
Earlier this year, EPA announced spending plans for the $100 million in ARP funding appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and health outcome disparities, with $50 million being designated to improve ambient air quality monitoring, and $50 million specifically designated for environmental justice to address disproportionate environmental or public health harms and risks in underserved communities through a range of local initiatives.
Of the $50 million ARP appropriation for EJ, $4.1 million went to support 21 EJ projects under the State/Tribal/Local EJ Cooperative Agreement (SEJCA) awards program. The additional EJSG and EJCPS selections announced yesterday will account for approximately $9.55 million of ARP funds, with additional funding provided through regular annual appropriations to EPA. Upcoming ARP-funded EJ grant activities will be announced after the EJSG and EJCPS awards are finalized.
Learn more about EJ at EPA.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. To learn more about ARP funding at EPA, visit: www.epa.gov/arp.
For up-to-date information about environmental justice funding opportunities, events, and webinars, subscribe to EPA's Environmental Justice listserv by sending a blank email to: email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter: @EPAEnvJustice.
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